Although the NFL’s legal tampering period prior to the start of free agency just got underway, the wait to see where Le’Veon Bell would land seemed to last forever. But the waiting games are over and Bell has reportedly chosen his next home after spending the first five years (and a sixth in a season-long holdout) with the Pittsburgh Steelers.
The All-Pro running back had been linked to a number of teams throughout the recent weeks, even before free agency drew near. But as ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported, Bell has chosen to head to New York Jets.
Bell, who’s 27 years old, has made three Pro Bowls in his young career while being named a First-Team All-Pro twice and Second-Team All-Pro once. He was a second-round pick by the Steelers during the 2013 NFL Draft.
Le’Veon Bell Contract Terms
The expectation was that Bell was going to receive a monster contract, but it was actually not nearly as large as some believed. As Schefter also reported, the deal with the Jets is worth $52.5 million over four years.
This equals out to $13.125 million per year but doesn’t factor in the max value of the deal. Schefter also provided that information, citing that the contract can be worth as much as $61 million. He also revealed that Bell will receive $35 million in guaranteed money.
In an interesting twist, back in the 2018 offseason, Bell made major headlines when a report from NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport came to light. According to the analyst, Bell turned down a deal worth $70 million over five years which featured more than $30 million in two years.
His new deal with the Jets features more guaranteed money and can wind up paying out a higher annual salary, assuming the max value is hit. But the base number of the deal are less than the original offer from the Steelers.
Le’Veon Bell’s Impact on Jets
It didn’t take long for Bell to work his way into the mix as one of the NFL’s best running backs. During his sophomore season, he showed off his ability to dominate both on the ground and through the air. Over 16 games that year, Bell tallied 1,361 rushing yards on 290 attempts (4.7 yards per carry) with eight rushing touchdowns. Even more impressive was the fact he hauled in 83 passes for 854 yards and three additional scores.
He’s a reliable pass-catcher who’s pulled in 312-of-398 targets over 62 games while racking up 2,660 receiving yards and seven touchdowns. As far as a pure runner, Bell has topped 1,250 rushing yards in three of the last four seasons he played, with the lone outlier coming in 2015 when he suited up for just six games.
His addition will make the life of second-year quarterback Sam Darnold a whole lot easier and immediately bolster the Jets’ offensive outlook.